While in Prague, I got in touch with a very close friend, Carmela Borgers, whose husband, Alain Borgers, was the General Manager of Shangri-la Hotel Paris. Since it was their last year in Paris before her husband gets re-assigned to another Shangri-la Hotel property, I asked if I could visit her and also shoot the view from one of the hotel’s suites. She gladly welcomed me over and confirmed that the suites were available, that is, they weren’t booked and I could shoot from one of them. From Prague, I made a detour to Paris.
The building of Shangri-la Hotel used to be the residence of Napoleon Bonaparte’s grandnephew, Prince Roland Bonaparte. Many parts of the hotel were fully restored to its old stylish elegance. I was suppose to head up to the suites at 4pm but I met Carmela first in the hotel’s lobby lounge a couple of hours earlier for some tea, to chat and catch up with each other. During this time, Carmela checked with the hotel staff and made sure that everything for the shoot was a go. The Assistant Front Office Manager, Hubert Savouré, came back with some bad news: at the last minute, all the suites got booked. What a bummer! I’ll miss my one and only chance to shoot from a unique view.
Fortunately, the Resident Manager, Matthias Terrettaz, provided me with an alternative – the roof of the hotel. Are you kidding? The suites being unavailable at the last minute actually turned out to be a blessing! I ended up shooting from a much better vantage point than what I originally came for! Furthermore, Shangri-la Hotel Paris doesn’t give access to their roof to anyone not even the public. WOW!!! I got even more excited for the shoot!
Accompanied by Messrs. Terrettaz and Savouré, we headed up to the roof. Carmela was able to go up as well and see the view for the very first time.
I was blown away by the spectacular, breath-taking view: not only do you get a full unobstructed 360° view of Paris and the River Seine, but you can also see the entire base and 3-legs of the Eiffel Tower (a very rare view). Next to the Shangri-la Hotel was the residence of Gustave Eiffel. According to history, Gustave stipulated, as part of his contract to construct the tower, that he has an unobstructed view of the Tower from his residence. To this day, the city of Paris continues to honor the contract. And because Shangri-la Hotel sits right next to Eiffel’s residence, it also enjoys an unobstructed view of the Tower.
After admiring the view for a few minutes, I set up my camera and my GigaPan EPIC 100 and captured a full 360° view of Paris. It was a very cold and cloudy day but was still a spectacular view. I’m glad I made the trip to Paris for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
The final image turned out to be an 11,191 megapixel image (278,117 x 42,838 pixels) composed of 1,638 individual photos stitched together.
I was able to capture a smaller gigapixel image at night.
A very special thank you to Shangri-la Hotel Paris for the roof access, in particular to Alain Borgers, Carmela Borgers, Matthias Terrettaz, Hubert Savouré.